Turning excess milk into profit.

Discussion in 'Dairy Goat Info' started by Tim Pruitt, Jan 8, 2008.

  1. Tim Pruitt

    Tim Pruitt New Member

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    Unpasteurized, unregulated milk sales are illegal in Louisiana. Same goes for cheese.

    That leaves turning milk into meat or soap as the only legal way to sell a milk product. I am not into soap making but have explored this as a possibility.

    I do have the knowledge or expertise to make milk into meat by raising either pigs or calves. Pigs may not have as good a market but there is a pretty good opportunity to sell home grown beef without hormones and as little other chemcals as possible. Here a person can raise the beef to market weight and find buyers to that want 1/2 to a full beef. (I have a list of people who would be eagar to buy.) You can raise it to maturity, take it to the slaughter house who will cut it and wrap it to the customer's specifications and then they pick up their meat at the slaughter house after you are paid. The problem of course can be obtaining a good supply of healthy newborn calves since there are very few dairies left in the country.

    My question is for those of you who have tried doing both: Which of the two, (soap making or beef) is the least time consuming? which is the least amount of work? which will make the most money from the milk?
     
  2. KJFarm

    KJFarm Senior Member

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    Tim, we have raised lots of calves on our milk when there was surplus. The dairies around us are very few now, and the ones still in operation, usually have buyers that pick up every calf born. Occasionally, we can talk them out of one or two. I like buying them fresh from the dairy, but it is just not always possible. Our other source for calves is buying small calves (1-3 weeks old approx.) at the sale barn, that are split off of a cow in the ring. These calves always do so well, because they got plenty of colostrum and have a little age on them.
    It's not that hard to get them on a bottle either, usually after missing a meal or two, they decide that bottle is is their lifeline and they take off and grow like weeds. After a few feedings, they will start coming to you and you don't have to wrestle with them. We buy beef calves, they are more expensive to purchase, but you get more when you sell them than you do with dairy calves, and they dress out with more meat.
    We sell meat to individuals also, and turn a good profit on it - and until you've eaten home grown beef, you just haven't lived!!!
     

  3. coso

    coso Guest

    I'd say lb for lb you would make more money with soap. But it really takes very little milk to make a batch of soap ( or it did the way my wife did it). You would have to make a boat load of soap to get rid of very much milk. We raise calves too. You can get rid of a lot of milk fast with calves especially after they get a little older and you don't have to worry as much about scouring them. I've heard of people feeding upwards of 3 gallons a day to one calf after they get some age on them. Calves out of the sale barn you have to worry about. Buying ones that are cut off the cow are usually fine like KJ said, but if you buy dairy calves out of the sale barn or single calves not knowing where they came from you'll lose some if your not careful. I've thought about raising pigs on goats milk but never have, they say that it makes the meat sweet. The only thing I see good about pigs is that if you needed to make cheese or had other uses for milk you could just feed them something else that day. With baby calves they need at least their gallon of milk a day, unless you want to supplement with milk replacer, but then again there is another extra cost. I have four jersey calves that I raised on goats milk in the lot now fattening up. If you could find clean beef or beef/dairy cross calves that would be the way to go to get rid of a lot of milk quick. My .02
     
  4. NubianSoaps.com

    NubianSoaps.com New Member

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    No way with the size of your herd could you make that much soap until you build your sales. I would diversify instead. Do your meat idea until your soap sales catch up with demand. You could make more money selling your milk to soapers.

    My batches of soap which make 54, 6 ounce bars, uses only 1 gallon of GM, and you can't put anymore in it without a huge curetime. So at full production, before holidays (Valentines, Mothers Day and about 3 months before christmas) I make 3 to 6 batches during the week each night. No way is it less work than feeding some hogs. Plus you can add bread to the goatmilk for raising hogs nearly free.

    Like having goats, soap becomes a passion. But with selling milk and cheese illegally, breeding stock and soap sales, my bottom line this year was bragworthy. I wish I could do away with the milksales. Vicki
     
  5. Tim Pruitt

    Tim Pruitt New Member

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    Good point Janie about buying calves that are separated from their mom at the sale barn. I need to get down to the cattle auction barn on a regular basis so I can pick up a beef calf or two when the time comes. I think I will pursue that idea a little more. And Vicki's point is valid too, a little of both soap making and calf raising might be the best approach.

    Thanks to everyone for their valuable input.
     
  6. kidsngarden

    kidsngarden New Member

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    The more I read and the more I do the more I see that to farm anything you need to diversify. You have goats you sell the milk , make cheese, soap, eat them, sell them for meat, sell for show or dairy stock (this is one reason I am getting rid of my current stock and starting over)

    As a soap maker, it really doesn't require much to make soap so if you have a huge amount I agree about doing soap and calves. Our pigs like the milk as you know and also our chickens (which we sell the eggs) you'd be surprised how much milk they will sip right up! They love it!

    Bethany
     
  7. Rambar Ranch

    Rambar Ranch New Member

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    If your going to buy a calf from the sale barn try if at all possible NOT to buy one with a majority of brahma blood. They will starve themselves before going to a bottle if they've already been nursing off a cow for any time. I usually try to get the ones that still have their dried umbilical chords still. These will take to a bottle very quickly. The healthiest calves I've gotten are from the local dairies, but these never sell per/lb as much as the beef breeds. A holstein dairy will also sell for much more than a jersey steer when it comes time to sell.

    Ray
     
  8. Little Moon

    Little Moon New Member

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    I agree that to diversify your efforts would be the way to go. Three years in a row I got a bum calf from a local rancher. They took to the bottle very well, and grew out nicely, make sure you have plenty of grass for them as they are not on the bottle very long, and will take 18 months to grow out. Weaner pigs are great to raise on goats milk - you can cut the meat with a fork and it has a wonderful flavor and texture. I haven't tried soap making yet, but it is on the horizon. Good luck and share what you find out.

    Anne
     
  9. Cotton Eyed Does

    Cotton Eyed Does New Member

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    I used to buy calves from the auction barn, bring them home immediately give them a shot of LA200 and start them on Decoxx-M in their bottles. I like raising calves, but last year they were selling so high I left the sale barn without any twice. Used to you could get a baby for $75.00 for a nice beef x calf, but they were going for an average of $300.00 a piece last year. I think it was year before last I bought 5 and more than doubled my money on them in 3 or 4 months. All I fed them was goat milk and just a hand full of creep feed every morning after they were a couple months old. They grew very fast and were nice sized. I fed them twice a day I started out with a calf bottle and as they grew I went to the nipple bucket.
     
  10. wheytogosaanens

    wheytogosaanens New Member

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    I know that a lot of folks purchase bottle calves and raise them for 2-4 months and then sell them for a hefty profit. They use up most of their excess milk this way, but don't have to worry about feeding them out (especially if they don't have pasture) nor have penning concerns.

    We like giving ours to the weaner pigs we purchase. Raised on goats' milk they are delicious (waiting list for porkers) and soooo easy....just dump the milk into the trough! :)

    Oh, and the chickens lay great on goats' milk, and it really cuts the ol' feed bill.

    Camille
     
  11. LMonty

    LMonty New Member

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    Time, we just butchered our first pigs last week. Two more went to the butcher Monday for customer pickup later this week. We raised 4, actually made just a little money on them, selling three at 1.75 lb hanging weight and ours was still essentially free (not taking into account labor, which was really pretty minimal). Best darn pork that ever graced a plate! That was with us buying all our feed-no milk YET, though I have a first freshener bagging up and another Nubian who looks like a walking tank, and it wont be long before we have some. I am also looking for a calf for us,a nd will want one for sale too. Thats when we hope to actually make some money on it. Havign to buy all the feed- we'd barely break even.

    I'd venture a guess that the pigs are much quicker money- you could raise a few twice or three times a year, where a calf takes much longer to get to eating size unless you veal it. Selling it early is good, but if you want to get the money for direct meat sales, diversifying and doing both might be one way to transform that white stuff to gold on a regular, year round basis. Thats what we are going to try to do, both pork and beef. It hits more buyers that way, and income is spread out a bit more for us on our very small scale.
     
  12. Tim Pruitt

    Tim Pruitt New Member

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    I have a good source for weaned pigs. My cousin raises a great strain of meat hogs. The two I purchased were excellent quality and had lots of lean meat when I finished them off. The meat had just enough fat on the edges to make it tasty.

    I made the mistake of buying and raising the wrong kind of hog once and had bags of fat to throw away.
     
  13. Narrow Chance

    Narrow Chance New Member

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    :yeahthat I was going to mention that Tim. We raised a couple of pigs to hog stage. We slaughtered them here.. did it the old fashion way. There was so much fat.. and not near enough meat.
    Pigs have thier pro's and con's.. as does the calves. If I had my dreathers.. I'd do the calf if you could get one. there's more time involved.. such as feeding with a bottle.. until you get it where it can drink the milk on its own.. and gosh.. it's almost a hands down when it comes to the smell. But either way.. if your doing it for your own family.. nothing beats home grown pork and beef.

    Rett
     
  14. Tracy in Idaho

    Tracy in Idaho Member

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    I wouldn't sell people milk in this day and age even if it was legal in Idaho -- and it isn't. All it takes is one sick kid, a good lawyer, and you're done for :(

    We raised two steers this year -- Holstein crosses. One for us, and one for a friend. The one we butchered was drinking nearly 15 gallons of milk a DAY. At 7 months old, he was 800+ pounds live weight!

    It is the BEST meat we have ever grown, and by far the cheapest.....our friend bought the calves in exchange for us raising them. The milk would have been dumped, and they ate crap hay the goats/horses couldn't -- hay that would have been burned.

    We also raise a couple of pigs every year -- yummy! And we feed it to our chickens too -- it grows great broilers without the leg problems.

    Tracy
     
  15. Melissa

    Melissa New Member

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    I do calf's, only because I've got close family that has a cow dairy, well, we actually have quit a few cow dairy's around here. in this small town alone I think it's over 5.
    humm.. you could build the calf's a lambar like for goat kids... less work. when over at my aunt and uncle's place if it's milking/feeding time I'll help feed calf's, they use the little wire bottle holders for each bottle. drooling everyware, sucking on anything that moves, other calf's, you. they remind me of those little dino's from the last Jurassic Park movie that were the size of chickens but large numbers of them could kill you. yea, that's what I think of when I think of calf's

    -Melissa


    PS

    THIS IS MY 50TH POST!!! I'M NOW A JUNIOR DOE! YEAAA!!
     
  16. Odeon

    Odeon New Member

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    We usually raise a calf every other year, and one or 2 pigs a year (for our use, and the in-laws). Tracy is right about the calves, and they are a great way to dispose of any hay that isn't "goatworthy". I hate to waste hay, so its another nice alternative!

    I also refuse to sell milk, not even for "pet" use. Just not worth the legal risk to me.

    Ken
     
  17. KJFarm

    KJFarm Senior Member

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    Tim, once you get the calves on bottles and coming to you readily, it is very easy to teach them to drink from a bucket. It is a labor saver to use a bucket, when they are drinking all the milk they want, instead of having to refill bottles multiple times. They can drink it down a lot faster than nursing the bottle!! And yes, a great benefit to calves is, they will eat scrap hay and feed that the goats waste. Worm them with pour-on Cydectin down their backs, vaccinate for Blackleg and just watch them grow.
     
  18. GallopingGoats

    GallopingGoats New Member

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    Tracy, did you butcher at 7 months?
    Of those of you that raise pigs, what else do you feed them beside milk? At what age do you butcher?
    For the people that feed their milk to chickens, are you saying you only feed them milk?
     
  19. coso

    coso Guest

    I still feed mine laying pellets or mash. But if you feed them milk they don't eat as much feed and you don't have to worry about thin eggshells either. I used to have to feed oyster shells so the eggshells wouldn't be thin, put them on goats milk and you don't have to worry about it because of all the calcium. That's a good point about calves and hay, they'll clean up what the goats waste. I got Jerseys last year because that's what was available when I needed them. Some people around here like the Jersey for butcher. Don't know if because the carcass is smaller or just the meat. I'm hoping I can butcher next fall and sell the other three to people. I'll let them out of dry lot when grass comes. Thats the only thing about beef it usually takes 15 to 18 months to get them to butcher weight. Or what the feed lot butcher weight is anyway, you can butcher before then. You just won't have regular size cuts.
     
  20. cheesewhiz

    cheesewhiz New Member

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    I milk 3-5 goats most of the year. I have a good cheese market with marinated feta that doesn't take refrigeration to the staff of a wilderness program. I also raise a few dairy calves, but I am relief milker on a 100 cow dairy so have an easy source. I only raise them to weaning and do make a real good profit. It fits my program for labor just fine. WOW, Tracy, 15 gallons of milk a day. I would like to try that some day.
    Amen to not getting any Brahma blooded calves. I used to be the calf raiser on a big dairy in California and we bred a few of the poorer cows to Brahma and those calves were something else. It was a major chore to get them on the bottle and half grown calves could jump over the moon (really I just saw them jump over the cab of a big pickup).